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Poster: BornEasement Date: Apr 21, 2011 5:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dylan lyric

The song is something of a parable. It was written in the basement tapes period, and it really points to the somber, psuedo-prophetic tone of Dylan's work on John Wesley Harding. Look at that line in context:

(i'm working with what I'll call the "final" lyrical working, on greatest hits 2)

First, we have the question of man's fallen nature:

"every man must need protection"

but our singer sees his "reflection somewhere so high above the wall," or some perfected vision of himself (platonic form, the reflected image, allegory of the cave etc.) at some impossible distance. (i keep using "some" because none of my associations are final.)

that reflected image also relates to the line of your inquiry... "my light come shining from the west to the east" seems to me like an inverted, personal sun. It brings salvation... but not yet. It reverses the normal course of the sun (east to west) because it is "otherworldly" rather than naturalistic. Finally, that light carries with it the promise that "any day now, I shall be released."

The other verse brings its own dimensions to the chorus line. The man who swears he's not to blame might just be another reflection of the speaker... or simply another person experiencing a similar rejection of the world. Thus we have a parable of social dissonance: our singer and his comrade are out of place in this world of limitation and sin, but look to a new day where the sun moves backwards and they are... released.